Following up on five major product announcements at the NAB show in Las Vegas on Sunday, Apple on Monday announced upgrades to its entire line of portable computing products. Apple's pro PowerBook models have been bumped to a top speed of 1.5GHz, while the consumer iBook now reaches speeds of 1.2GHz.
"The year of the notebook didn't end in December, it's still going," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's Vice President of Hardware Product Marketing.
AirPort Extreme wireless networking and an internal Bluetooth module are now included standard with all PowerBook models. On the 15-inch and 17-inch models, graphics performance has been improved with the inclusion of ATI's Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics processor; 128MB of VRAM is also available as a custom configuration.
"We've always tried to focus on having good graphics engines. Creative Pro customers demand high graphics performance," said Joswiak of the new graphics chips.
The new 12-inch PowerBook G4 model has been bumped up to 1.33GHz, and has seen its VRAM increased from 32 to 64MB. A larger 60GB drive is now standard issue, as well. It's available in Combo Drive and SuperDrive versions for £978 and £1,106 plus VAT respectively.
The 15-inch PowerBook G4 is available in a 1.33GHz version equipped with a Combo Drive for £1,191 plus VAT. The 1.5GHz model comes with a 4x SuperDrive for £1,489 plus VAT. The 17-inch PowerBook G4 is available with a 1.5GHz processor and 4x SuperDrive for £1,659 plus VAT.
The 12-inch and base 14-inch iBook G4 models now both run at 1.0GHz. Each model includes 256MB DDR SDRAM expandable to 1.25GB, two USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 400, VGA video out, 10/100baseT Ethernet, and slot-loading Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drives. The 12-inch model comes equipped with a 30GB hard drive while the 14-inch gets a 40GB hard drive. Like their predecessors, they come with a slot for an AirPort Extreme wireless networking card and can be ordered with an internal Bluetooth module. They cost £680 and £765 plus VAT respectively.
The 14-inch model is also available with a 1.2GHz processor, 60GB hard drive and included AirPort Extreme card. What's more, for the first time on the iBook line, the 14-inch model can be custom-ordered with a 4x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) optical drive. It's priced at £893 plus VAT.
"All of these things together make the iBook the perfect computer as the hub of the digital lifestyle," said Joswiak. "We are always trying to make the value better - we're doing really well here and we're not going to let up."
Previous prices compared
As well as increasing performance of the PowerBooks and iBooks, Apple has reduced the prices compared with previous versions. The 1GHz 12-inch PowerBooks with either a Combo drive or SuperDrive were priced at £1,106 and £1,233 plus VAT respectively.
The 1GHz 15-inch PowerBook models were priced at £1,361 (Combo drive) and £1,700 (SuperDrive) plus VAT respectively and the 1.33GHz 17-inch version sold for £2,042 plus VAT.
In the UK, iBook pricing has also changed. Prices were £723 for the 800MHz 12-inch, £850 for the 933MHz 14-inch, and £1,020 for the 1GHz 14-inch, all prices excluding VAT.